In this article, I’ll share 7 Zen principles that every eLearning professional should know about.
Zen is all about centering, mindfulness, and inner tranquility, which just about sums up the online training experience we all dream about. Every eLearning professional hopes that their employees will walk away from the eLearning experience with a renewed sense of purpose and clear mental focus.
Thankfully, there are ways to achieve this by relying on a few key Zen principles and practices that can be applied in online training. Best of all, you don’t have to be a Zen master to bring harmony and productivity to your workplace.
Simplicity is of the essence
Some people may mistake being simple for being boring or dull. However, this could not be further from the truth. Simplicity is all about knowing when enough is enough and not overwhelming the online learner with flashy graphics or distracting color schemes.
In certain instances, less is more and opting for a simple visual design is the way to go. This also allows you to focus on the subject matter and show it in the best possible light, instead of letting the images, fonts, and layout steal the show.
Be aware of your own emotions and those of others
Many of us do not automatically associate emotions with online training. It’s a professional pursuit, so we link it to the mind instead of the heart. However, an effective online training program includes a balance of both.
Acknowledge your true feelings about the online training course and then use them to create a dynamic and emotionally engaging experience. This also includes empathizing with your online learners to see things from their point of view.
Is there a particular belief, opinion, or mindset that might be standing in their way? If so, then you might want to figure out how you can overcome this obstacle and help them to see the benefits of actively participating in the online training course.
Reach beyond your comfort zone
We experience the most change in our lives when we venture beyond our comfort zone and explore the unfamiliar. Encourage your employees to do something new, and possibly even a bit unnerving, by integrating scenarios into your online training program.
Allow them to see how a single choice or action can lead to unexpected outcomes. Let them explore their decision-making process and figure out if they are truly on the right track. You can even achieve this by asking a thought-provoking question or sparking a lively debate where they can share differing viewpoints.
Make sure that you don’t push the boundaries too far, however. Respect the cultures and backgrounds of your employees and try to understand that some individuals may be resistant to the process.
Employees must understand that development takes time. In order to grow and advance in their careers they have to commit themselves to the process and actively participate in the online training experience.
Modifying behaviors is usually challenging, which is why you need to stress the importance of ongoing training. Employees need to be patient and know that their mistakes are merely opportunities to expand their professional knowledge and experience.
If you notice that certain individuals are struggling with the online training program, you may want to offer them additional support resources.
Respect differing viewpoints and opinions
Everyone has their own opinion and belief system. That is what makes us all individuals who contribute to society.
One of the core Zen principles is that we should be aware of our own viewpoints and accept that others have differing viewpoints. We are each entitled to a unique perspective.
Encourage your employees to engage in online discussions with their colleagues and actively listen to their thoughts, ideas, and feedback. You may even wish to create collaborative online projects that allow them to work together towards a common goal and share their expertise.
Be present in the moment
This is one of the quintessential Zen ideologies. We should live in the moment and focus on the task at hand. Though we can plan for the future, we must also be able to devote all of our effort to the present.
Simulations are a highly effective tool that prompt employees to live in the moment. They must be fully aware of the virtual environment and interact with it directly. Distractions are no longer an issue, because they are immersed in the world that you’ve created for them.
Put your knowledge into practice
Thought must always be paired with action for real change to occur. Employees need to be aware that everything they learn ties into a real world application.
Be completely up front about how they are going to apply the information and the benefits they can expect to receive. Take it a step further by asking them to apply the knowledge during the online training.
For example, encourage them to create a tutorial that centers on a specific task or participate in an online scenario where they are able to try out what they have learned. By doing so they have the chance to explore the consequences of their actions and identify alternative paths that may be more beneficial. They can also discover areas of improvement and performance behaviors that need to be modified.
The secret to using Zen in your online training is blending it with the needs and goals of your company. In fact, you may want to take a closer look at the latest online training analysis and figure how these principles can help resolve your performance issues and fill the gaps.
Zen in your online corporate training strategy should never overlook the importance of emotions. As humans, we feel before we think, and our hearts tell our heads whether the information is worth learning. Read the article 5 Tips To Use The Plutchik’s Wheel Of Emotions In eLearning to discover 5 tips on how to use emotions in your next eLearning course.
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